Ivan Demidov
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A call from Kent Hughes to one of the top prospects in the draft

Published May 7, 2024 at 8:32 PM

Just hours before the lottery that will have a major impact on the team's plans, Montreal Canadiens General Manager Kent Hughes called young Russian forward Ivan Demidov. Demidov is expected to be selected second overall, behind Macklin Celebrini, in the amateur draft.

As long as the Canadiens don't know their draft position, this call remains entirely anecdotal, but the information circulating suggests that the Montreal organization's general manager is showing a lot of interest in Demidov, who is often compared to Nikita Kucherov and Kirill Kaprizov, two elite players in the league.

Even though it's unlikely that the Canadiens will pick in the top 2, there's still a 17.1% chance that Kent Hughes will land one of the top two prospects in the draft next June. That's a one in six chance!

Kent Hughes just made a phone call to Ivan Demidov before the 2024 lottery

Ivan Demidov's agent didn't beat around the bush in delivering his thoughts. According to him, his client is no less talented than Macklin Celebrini. The only catch is that it's difficult to compare a player competing in the KHL with a young player who has had success in the NCAA. If Demidov had played in North America, he would seriously be considered for the top pick in the draft. At least, there would be a lively discussion between him and his Canadian counterpart, Macklin Celebrini.

"I'll sum it up like this, and I don't really know how to say it without upsetting people, but if Ivan were playing in the CHL currently and had the same visibility as all the other prospects in North America, he would be perceived as the clear-cut first overall pick. And I'm really not afraid to say that." - Dan Milstein, Ivan Demidov's agent

Quite a statement from the player's agent!

On a comparative basis, Demidov has accumulated 23 goals and 37 assists (60 points) in just 30 games in his home country (MHL). At the same age, Nikita Kucherov had registered 58 points, but in 41 games.

However, making comparisons should be done cautiously. Some players struggle to adapt to the North American style after playing several years in Europe.

Regarding the aforementioned phone call by Kent Hughes, Ivan Demidov's agent, Dan Milstein, confirmed that the Canadiens were very interested in Demidov. It was the same individual who confirmed the call with Kent Hughes.

Hughes even reportedly contacted Demidov personally several times this season to learn more about him. These numerous calls demonstrate a certain level of interest from Kent Hughes.

If the Canadiens passed on Russian player Matvei Michkov in 2023, Demidov's case is very different, as he doesn't have a contract tying him to a team in the KHL or Europe. This means that the young man could pack his bags and cross the Atlantic this summer to join the NHL club in 2024-2025. Additionally, the off-ice temperaments of the two men seem very different according to reports from the Russian hockey community.

"Ivan has shown in recent years that he is going to be a huge player, and several teams have contacted us in recent months. Yes, Montreal was one of them." - Dan Milstein

Exciting times ahead!
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